Hayao Miyazaki has often been referred to as the Walt Disney of Japan. A co-founder of the renowned Studio Ghibli, his imaginative and original animated fairytales are both visually and narratively captivating. We admire Miyazaki for weaving culturally significant themes into his complex story lines. His films often address issues such as environmental awareness and moral fortitude. We also love that Miyazaki tends to feature strong female leads. Empowering and inspiring, Hayao Miyazaki films are adored by millions around the world. Below you’ll find some of the highlights of his filmography.
One of his earliest films, Nausicaä, of the Valley of the Wind was written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Based on the manga that Miyazaki also wrote, Nausicaä tells the story of a young girl who possesses the ability to communicate with ancient forces of nature that have been misunderstood and demonized for centuries. Can she prevent the ongoing war her people find themselves in from provoking nature any further? Nausicaä is pretty heavy handed on it’s themes of environmental conservation, but in this case, it’s a good thing.
In this modern day homage to Lewis Carroll’s Through The Looking Glass, a young girl finds herself separated from her parents and trapped in a ghostly realm full of strange creatures and spirits. Put to work at the evil witch’s castle, she makes an unlikely friend and begins to plot her escape. Spirited Away is perhaps Miyazaki’s best work, and I recommended it to anyone who has yet to see a film of his.
Perhaps the most “classic fairy tale-esque” of his films, Howl’s Moving Castle is based on a novel of the same name by British author Diana Wynne Jones. The protagonist is a young girl who is turned into an elderly woman thanks to a spell placed on her by an evil witch. In hopes of breaking the spell, she seeks out the powerful wizard Howl, who travels about the land in…you guessed it…a literal moving castle. Though comparisons could be made to Beauty and the Beast and even Wizard of Oz, this one really deserves to be judged on it’s own merit. I’d suggest this one as a great follow up to Spirited Away.
Miyazaki’s stories are modern classics, and regardless of your tastes or preconceptions, his films should be given a shot. You can usually find his films here on our new and cool shelf (yes, they’re that cool), but you can also stop by your local Bookmans location and ask an associate for help tracking one down.
*Bookmans is your store to explore. We can’t guarantee stock, so if you are interested in one of the DVDs or BluRays mentioned, please give us a call and we’ll check our orange shelves for you.
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